Plastic bottles are NOT green & there is no ethical bottled water

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

While the contents of such bottles themselves may not be especially harmful, the process of producing bottled water is not doing the environment any favors.

The water in itself is not harmful but the fact that it is being extracted to be put in bottles where, in most cases, the municipal tap water would be as good if not even better, there is a problem, in a way.

Many health-conscious consumers strongly believe bottled water is preferable to ordinary tap water, and the bottled water industry's profits run in the billions of American dollars annually.

Even if the bottling and shipping aspects of bottled water have a negative impact on the environment, the end result is still viewed as a healthier alternative than tap water processed through municipal treatment plants.

However, much of the water in those bottles – at least 45%, so it would seem – actually comes from municipal sources, that is top say, is nothing else but tap water which may, or may not, as the case may be, have been filtered.

One of the main problems with bottled water production is the reliance on fossil fuels. Raw plastic must be heated before it can be injected into bottle-shaped blow molds, and this heat source is often electricity or natural gas, both of which are produced by fossil fuels. The finished bottles must then be shipped out by trucks or trains, which also burn natural fossil fuels. Add to this the use of additional packaging materials such as plastic wrap and cardboard. Merely producing the bottles has a negative impact on the environment.

The same is, to a great degree, true for the very much touted plastic bottle made from starch polymers. It still needs, basically, the same process to produce the bottles as doe PET and the same transportations and shipping footprint.

So, to counteract this, get a stainless steel water bottle or even reuse a (no, not a plastic bottle) a glass Snapple lemonade bottle (in a padded carrier) and carry around a cup or mug.

Also, if you have to use a plastic bottle because you haven't got your own one with you (shame on you) then make sure that the bottle goes into the relevant waste stream for recycling.

Well, let's hope they actually go to the recycling plants when you put them into those bins that state that they do. The truth is that many municipalities only send the stuff for recycling if they can get a good enough price for the stuff. If not then guess where it goes? Yes, the landfill.

Therefore, go reusable any time and use tap water only.

© 2011